Plymouth Argyle have lost back to back league matches for the first time under Ryan Lowe’s tenure.
However, the Pilgrims were not licking their wounds after Saturday’s performance against Fleetwood Town, instead they kept second-placed Peterborough United on their toes for the match’s duration.
Darren Ferguson’s side bounced back with a win after Saturday’s clash with Blackpool – their first loss at home this year.
A goal from Jonson Clarke-Harris on the brink of half time was enough to earn Posh all three points in the League One clash.
Story of the match
It was clear that Lowe came with a game plan for Argyle to keep their shape and hit Posh on the counter.
Peterborough were dominant for long periods of the half but resilient defending from the Pilgrims limited Ferguson’s side to half chances.
Siriki Dembele, the main creator for Peterborough, played a blinder in the first half. Posh were unlucky not to go a goal up in the opening 15 after the forward played in the overlapping Sammie Szmodics one-on-one with Argyle custodian Mike Cooper. The young ‘keeper was quick to rush out and managed to get an outstretched boot on the low effort, sending it wide.
An end-to-end couple of minutes saw Argyle’s best chance of the half, just after the half hour mark. Ex-Peterborough man George Cooper’s cross-come-shot from deep went over the head of Christy Pym but couldn’t be converted by Luke Jephcott – who’s sightline was blocked.
Clarke-Harris utilised his strength well to dispossess Conor Grant before playing a probing pass to Dembele, who beat his man but dragged his shot wide.
It seemed Argyle might make it to half time high and dry, however, Clarke-Harris had different plans – opening accounts for Peterborough in the 40th minute.
Quick feet from Dembele created an opening in the Pilgrims’ defence – something he exploited. A well-weighted pass landed at the feet of Clarke-Harris who took a touch and drilled his shot under Cooper.
The first half drama wasn’t quite done yet.
There were calls for an Argyle penalty after Jephcott was wrestled to the ground from behind. These calls were dismissed by the man in the middle, Tom Nield.
Argyle upped their game in the second half but had no clear-cut chances to show for it.
Posh had several chances to extend their lead but were unable to do so – leaving the door open for Lowe’s side.
Jack Taylor’s looping cross from midfield found Clarke-Harris unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box, however, the 26-year-old fluffed his first time shot, allowing Cooper to collect with ease.
Posh’s best chance of the half came seven minutes later.
Clarke-Harris was first to the loose ball in Argyle’s box, rifling a shot straight at Cooper who parried it away. Dembele collected on the edge of the box but his shot ends up the wrong side of the post.
A nervy last quarter for Posh saw them sit back and protect their lead as Argyle tried to get a foothold on the fixture.
With strikers Ryan Hardie and Jephcott both substituted, they lacked any attacking threat and the final whistle blew.
Takeaways from the match
Argyle are still winless away from home
Ryan Lowe has a respectable home record, but the Pilgrims seem to struggle on the road.
Argyle still haven’t won away from home in League One. If Lowe wants his side in the upper echelons of the division come the end of the season then this will have to change.
How serious is Clarke-Harris’ injury?
Clarke-Harris was forced off the pitch in the 78th minute, clutching his leg in the process.
With seven goals to his name already in League One, Ferguson will certainly hope the attacker’s injury is minor.
Posh have strong reinforcements in their ranks with Mo Eisa on the bench. The former Bristol City striker scored 14 goals in League One last season for Peterborough but has been used sparingly so far this campaign.
The forward covered every centimetre of the pitch against the Pilgrims, always wanting a piece of the action.
Dembele was credited with the assist for Posh’s only goal and was unfortunate not to get on the scoresheet himself.
Dembele’s partner in crime, Clarke-Harris, proved his price tag tonight with a dominant performance.
The striker bagged the only goal of the game and arguably should have scored another one or two.
He was powerful when defending and proved himself a real aerial threat in attack for his side.
Peterborough (3-4-1-2): Pym (GK), Kent, Beevers, Blake-Tracy, Broom (Mason 75’), Brown (Hamilton, Taylor, Szmodics (Reed 84’), Butler, Dembele, Clarke-Harris (Eisa 77’).
Subs not used: Gyollai (GK), Kanu, Tasdemir.
Booked: Dembele 17’,
Argyle (3-5-2): M. Cooper (GK), Watts, Opoku, Wootton, Edwards (Moore 71’), Fornah, Grant (Reeves 71’), Mayor, G. Cooper, Hardie (Nouble 64’), Jephcott (Telford 82’).
Subs not used: McCormick (GK), Aimson, Camara.
Booked: Wootton 25’, Opoku 28’,
Referee: Tom Nield